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Papua New Guinea Chief ustice Sir Gibbs Salika will on Wednesday preside over the case challenging the legality of a Parliament sitting last Tuesday where the 2021 national budget was passed.
The case was filed by Ialibu-Pangia MP Peter O’Neill on behalf of Opposition MPs last week, challenging the Speaker’s decision to recall Parliament on Tuesday after Parliament had already agreed to adjourn it to 01 December.
Sir Gibbs said last Friday that the court was the custodian of the constitution and had every power to deal with legislative matters.
He wanted such cases fast-tracked because of the issues involved and the changes happening.
Sir Gibbs adjourned the proceedings to Wednesday because the party representing Prime Minister James Marape was yet to be served the application.
O’Neill’s lawyer Greg Sheppard of Young and Williams Lawyers confirmed that Speaker Job Pomat and the attorney-general had already been served the application.
Sheppard said the application filed last Wednesday raised important constitutional questions of national importance regarding:
*WHETHER the 2021 national budget passed was consistent with the constitution and the spirit of the constitution;
*WHETHER the meeting of the Parliament convened on Tuesday, 17 November was consistent with the constitution, Organic Law, and the spirit of the constitution;
*WHETHER the purported decision of the speaker on Tuesday, 17 November to adjourn the House to 21 April, 2021 was legal; and,
* WHETHER the purported decision of the speaker to overrule a motion passed on Friday, 13 November, to adjourn Parliament to 01 December, and to convene meeting on Tuesday, 17 November, were consistent with, and in the spirit of the constitution.
O’Neill, a former prime minister and leader of the People’s National Congress ousted from power by Prime Minister James Marape in May last year, is asking the Supreme Court to declare that:
*THE speaker’s decision to recall Parliament of Tuesday last week despite the approved motion on Friday, Nov 13, to adjourn it to 01 December was unconstitutional, invalid and ineffective;
*THE meeting of Parliament on Tuesday, 17 November was unconstitutional, invalid and ineffective;
*THE 2021 national budget purportedly passed on Tuesday was unconstitutional, invalid and ineffective, inconsistent with Section 209 of the constitution;
*THE decision during last Tuesday’s meeting to adjourn parliament to April 21, 2021 was unconstitutional, invalid and ineffective;
*THE meeting of Parliament on Friday, 13 November, and the decisions made there were valid and remain in force; and,
*THE court issue a mandatory injunction requiring the speaker to convene Parliament on 01 December.
SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS
Pacific Islands News Association
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International News Safety Institute (INSI)
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